The recently published 2020 summit Final Report has recommended that the government looks seriously into the separation of its national fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) provider, echoing repeated calls by rival telcos to break up Telstra if it wins the national broadband network tender.
The suggestions were introduced in the Future Directions for the Australian Economy group, co-chaired by Treasurer Wayne Swan and including Finance Minister Lindsey Tanner. Proposals on changes to Australian infrastructure were canvassed and voted on at the summit, with the nation having an "open-access national broadband platform, with retail arm separated" being one receiving the most support, according to the Final Report.
"Government should assess the case for vertical separation of the network owner from retail carriers and carriage service providers to promote access," the report says.
Ovum telecommunications analyst David Kennedy said that, should the recommendation have any effect, it would encourage the government towards separation, but added that the Labor party had already shown it is willing to consider some form of separation requirement for the tender.
He said that the recommendation only counts if Telstra wins, since other bidders have already placed a separation condition on themselves. "If Telstra does win, my expectation is that there will be a lot of lobbying the government for separation," he said.
Putting a separation condition on the national fibre-to-the-node network tender has been championed by FTTN bidder Terria, formerly the G9, with the group recently launching an online petition encouraging the public to sign up and back its separation proposal to the Federal government.